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Primary Sources  

Last Updated: Nov 4, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Primary Sources Print Page


  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers
    Includes articles from the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Chicago Tribune from the 1800s to 2001. (Login: wfbhs, bay)
  • Chronicling America:Historic American Newspapers
    This collection from the Library of Congress contains digitized historic newspaper pages from papers throughout the country, specifically covering the time period from 1836-1922.
  • Access Newspaper Archives
    This database covers not only papers from the US, but also select countries around the world, with dates as current as 2010.
  • Newspaper Source Plus
    This database contains articles from newspapers across the country from a more current time period, with most papers dating back to about the 1980s.

Primary Source Reference Books

Look for these reference books in the LMC.

Cover Art
Milestone Documents in World History
Call Number: R 909 MIL
ISBN: 9780979775864
125 primary source documents from virtually every geographical region including important documents such as the Magna Carta, the Communist Manifesto, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Cover Art
Daily Life Through World History in Primary Documents
Call Number: R 909 DAI
ISBN: 031333899X

Cover Art
Vietnam War
Call Number: R 959.704 VIE
ISBN: 0787648876
Get a variety of perspectives on how Americans really felt about their country's involvement in the Vietnam War with excerpts from screenplays, literature, speeches and hearings representing pro and con viewpoints during and after the conflict.

American Decades Primary Documents
Call Number: R 973.91 AME
ISBN: 0787665878
Each Primary Sources volume covers a decade in American history. Each volume includes approximately 165 full-text or excerpted historical documents from the period representing a diversity of views that provide insight into the seminal issues, themes, movements and events from the decade. These documents include advertisements, commercials, diaries, literary works, newspaper articles, memoirs, periodical articles, speeches and other types of primary source materials.

Library Archives

  • American Memory - LOC
    American Memory provides free and open access to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity.
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of US History
    The collection includes more than 60,000 letters, diaries, maps, pamphlets, printed books, newspapers, photographs, and ephemera that document the political, social, and economic history of the United States ranging from 1493 through the twentieth century.
  • The Avalon Project
    The Avalon Project collects digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government.
  • New York State Historical Society: Manuscripts Relating to Slavery
    The library of the New-York Historical Society holds a substantial collection of manuscript materials documenting American slavery and the slave trade in the Atlantic world. They consist of diaries, account books, letter books, ships’ logs, indentures, bills of sale, personal papers, and records of institutions.


  • United States History in Context
  • World History in Context
    Along with magazine, newspaper, and reference articles, these databases allow users to search specifically for primary documents. Choose that option above the search box.
  • SIRS Decades
    SIRS Decades: 20th Century American Sources, contains Primary Source and reference content from America in the 20th century.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    Contains a reference book series entitled Social Issues Primary Sources Collection, which includes topics such as medicine, the environment, immigration, terrorism, and many more.

Primary Source Reference Books

Cover Art
Environmental Issues in American History
Call Number: 333.7 MAG
ISBN: 0313322082
In this exhaustively researched study, primary documents support different sides of various questions, such as the use of water as an energy source, deforestation, gold mining in California, and the emergence of wildlife conservation.

Cover Art
Encyclopedia of the Age of the Industrial Revolution
Call Number: R 330.9 ENC
ISBN: 0313335036
Contains information on notable people, places, events, and developments of the Industrial Revolution from 1700 to 1920; long with twenty-nine related primary documents.


Primary Source Examples

Image of Ty Cobb and Joe Jackson in 1913.  Find more photographs and information about baseball from the 1860s to the 1960s in the Baseball and Jackie Robinson Collection at the Library of Congress.

Just one of the World War I posters you can find in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog of the Library of Congress.


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